We gather information about the world through our 5 senses and send that information to our brain. They are our brain’s initial connection to our experiences. Our 5 senses are like a toolbox for making observations, helping the brain to take that data and make connections. This is crucial in the initial development of making sense of the world and early thinking.
The 5 senses are sight, Hearing, smell, touch and taste. Sensory exploration helps children with their awareness and is important for learning many cognitive skills and self regulation.
Here are some activities for exploring our senses:
Sight is what we see with our eyes.
Resealable plastic bottles
Optional: Corn syrup, beads, glitter, buttons
To Make Sensory Bottles:
Fill bottle mostly full (½ water, ½ oil)
Add food coloring
Seal with a bit of glue
Or Slow Moving Bottle:
Place some beads or buttons in the bottom of the bottle (just enough to fill the bottom of the bottle)
Fill the bottle with clear corn syrup
Seal with glue
Sound is what we hear with our ears.
Sound Sensory Bottle Adaptation:
What can you but in the bottles to turn them into hearing sensory bottles?
Try just beads, buttons, pom poms, or cotton balls for contrast.
Hint: Sensory bottles are a favorite of babies and young toddlers.
Smell is what we smell with our noses.
Nature Smell Expedition: Spring is in the air! Lots of plants are budding or blooming creating an abundance of smells. Go for a walk and smell the air, ground and plants.
What do you notice?
How would you describe that smell?
Create a Smell Test:
Smelly stuff: Cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg, any spice, vanilla extract, the liquid squeezed out of a baby wipe, vinegar, the juice of a lemon/orange, drop of perfume, flower petal crushed in a tiny bit of water.
Get the cotton ball damp with a tiny bit of water
Dab one cotton ball in each smelly thing, set aside
Close your eyes, smell the cotton balls one at a time and guess
Could you name the smells?
Did things smell as you expected?
Taste is what we taste with our tongues and mouth.
Create a taste test of familiar foods.
How to play:
Collect familiar foods.
Taste each one and make sure you can identify them.
Now close your eyes and taste each one and guess.
Take a sip of water after each taste to cleanse your mouth of the previous food.
Could you name the foods with your eyes closed?
Did they taste different with your eyes closed?
Hint: Repeat with your eyes closed and nose pinched. How does not being able to smell the food affect your guess? Was it harder to guess? Did some things taste different with your nose plugged?
Touch is what we feel with our skin
Nature Touch Expedition: Go for a walk and touch different objects: sidewalk, grass, dirt, rocks, plants, tree bark, leaves.
How would you describe each item?
Can you think of something that feels similar?
Do you like some more than others?
At Home Touch Expedition: Collect items of varying textures. Close your eyes and touch each one. Ask the same questions as above.
Hint: Younger Children may not close their eyes for any of these activities. Also the adult or an older child may do most of the describing. Preverbal or children with limited verbal skills benefit greatly from sensory exploration and experimentation.
5 Senses Space
Create a space to explore each of the senses with a clear marker for each sense. This can be done inside, in a yard or on a walk.
USING YOUR 5 SENSES WITH MELISSA
Infants and younger Toddlers:
DEVELOPING SELF – APPROACHES TO LEARNING PLAY AND EXPLORATION Goal 1: Children engage in play to understand the world around them. 7. Uses senses to explore
LEARNING ABOUT THE WORLD – SCIENCE PHYSICAL SCIENCES Goal 1: Children construct concepts of the properties of matter, sound, motion and energy through inquiry, exploration and investigations. 1. Attend to and demonstrate interest in objects in their environment, using all of their senses to explore
INQUIRY Goal 1: Children make sense of the world around them by actively gathering and interpreting information. Use senses to investigate immediate surroundings
THE PRICKLY HEDGEHOG BY ELLY VAN DER LINDEN & DEBBIE LAVREYS
READ BY KATLYN
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